Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wonder Works

We've driven by this museum several times since we've been here.  It's hard to miss, being upside down and all.  The problem is it's in Panama City and the beach is it's competition.  I was grateful Ben had a field trip scheduled on what turned out to be a rainy day so the beach wouldn't interfere.  

(The camera got left on the counter at home because they made us be to the school at 7:00.  It's a true miracle we made it with all four of us dressed and no tears.  The following pics are from a phone, with a wiggly toddler in the other arm, sorry.)

This machine uses pedal power to push you up and over.  It requires a chaperone, but an employee took pity on me with Sadie in my arms and offered to ride with Ben saving me from going upside down multiple times at 9:00a.m.
I'm forever grateful!

This water is the exact temperature of the water at the time of the Titanic sinking.  Super cold!!

the Hurricane Hole...a large fan blows at sustained speeds of 74 miles an hour recreating the effect of a hurricane.


Sadie loved the giant piano.

A virtual roller coaster.  They were singing "Everything is Awesome".
I couldn't hear them, but their dance moves while riding gave it away.

A cool indoor ropes course.

Ben's class had a great time.  I'm so glad they let me and Sadie tag along.  While we were leaving Ben lamented the fact that it was raining and we couldn't pop over to the beach he loves.  I asked him if he'd rather come back to Wonderworks or the beach and he said, "It's not even a question, mom.  They're just lucky it was raining or Luke and I were going to sneak our swimming suits and go to the beach while everyone was here."  Sneaky little eight year olds and their plotting.  I don't know whether we'll be back soon, but it's nice to know there are rainy day options at the Beach too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I just had to share...

I'm linking today with one of my besties, Mamabyrd. (You might know her from her Friday "Impressions" posts.)   She took some great photos of us just after the adoption of our two youngest children recently.  I always knew she was amazing, but these photos prove it.  Just scroll over the word "Mamabyrd" to get to her blog, mom ;-).

She chose the location, Ogden's Union station, and captured us all so naturally.   I kept asking her how we should stand or where to put our hands and she just kept saying, "I don't know, I'll tell you if I need you to move."  She has a way of capturing the moment, not just the subject.  Someday she and her camera will be famous, or at least really, really expensive and hard to book.

This is just one of my favorites.  Look at sneaky Sadie with her shoe... Check out Sarah's blog to see more.

Thank you, Sarah, for perfectly capturing our growing family.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gator Tail

 We celebrated Dean's first year on the job in true Southern fashion by trying our first taste of Alligator. Apparently the gators are farm raised in Florida.  Their tails are chopped up and breaded and fried (like everything else down here).

First taste of fried alligator tail.

Delicious!  They all had seconds.

They ate the whole bowl.  I tried a little taste and my impression was that it's gamier than chicken with the texture of a pork chop.  It's not something I'll ever order for myself, but the males in this family can't wait to go back.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Is it still considered art work if it happens to be on the bed sheets?  
She was too quiet for just a little too long.

Joining Mamabyrd in her weekly Impressions Post.  Feel free to post your own either here or there.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alan's New Glasses

You know in the Superman movies when Clark Kent removes his glasses to become Superman and no one recognizes him?  That always bothered me.  Glasses are not a disguise, Lois Lane!!  Being a glasses wearer myself, I know that they just become a part of you.  So when my little man put his on for the first time you can imagine how surprised I was when I almost didn't recognize him.  Isn't he handsome?! Dean said, "who knew all you needed was a pair of thick black frames to look instantly hip and smart."

I remember walking into my own third grade classroom the day after I received my first pair of glasses. It was the mid 80's, so yes, they were huge and round and the side pieces had swirly metal cut outs.  Pretty rad, in my opinion, but I was still nervous.  Well, I had a pretty great teacher, Mrs. Nelson, and she had prepped all my other classmates AND given them each a pair of plastic glasses they had to wear all day.

Unlike me, Alan wasn't nervous at all.  He rocked his glasses from the minute he put them on.  It's just like him to embrace something new.  Especially an accessory that "makes me look cool".  I should have known that my boy who is very particular about his shoes being flashy, always having to have a pair of sunglasses on in the car, will not leave the house without hair gel,  and told me last week that my flip flops didn't match my pants, would take to glasses like a fish takes to water.

He even picked the frames out himself and was VERY put out at the limited selection of children's eye wear.  I should worry about a few years down the road when he HAS to have the expensive teenage jeans, but for now I'm just grateful for a little bit of GQ in the one child that doesn't fight me when I set out his church clothes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On an Easter Sunday Morning...

We have a favorite song that talks about a family sitting down to their Easter morning meal.  They eat eggs, toast, and squash, and it sounds so simple and charming.  Despite my best efforts our Easter morning was anything but simple and charming.  Here's the break down...

5:30 a.m.  hit snooze for 10 more minutes
5:50 a.m. kiss Dean goodbye for what we both thought would be a short hour of rounding at the hospital and preheat the oven
6:00 a.m. put the shortcake in to bake
6:30 a.m. realize the cream of mushroom soup I needed for the funeral potatoes got left in the Winn Dixie shopping cart.
6:35 a.m. rescue a screaming Sadie from her crib and throw a banana at her
6:40 a.m. receive call from Dean informing me he would be staying to do TWO surgeries that couldn't wait and asking me to have the boys postpone "anything Easter" until after church
6:45 a.m. give up on the potatoes and go shower
7:00 a.m. intercept the boys at the bottom of the stairs and convince/force them back upstairs to shower and put on church clothes.
7:30 a.m. receive text reminding me my presence was needed at the choir rehearsal for the Easter Cantata at church and would I please be there at 8:00 a.m.
7:50 a.m. drag three basket deprived children to the car in their Easter best with breakfast in hand

I was tired, (I'd been up a little later than I wanted ironing everyone's Easter clothes, and, yes, knitting the ears on the rabbit featured above.)  The Cantata performance was actually for our sister ward, so I made it into Young Women's late. I debated going for the last fifteen minutes, but I'm so glad I did.
I got to see this...

Because of Him.  Have you seen it?  It changed my perspective.  Our teacher asked us to write down what was possible in our lives because of Him.  I wrote, "because of Him I can be better than I am." then I added "and live in Alabama and not be depressed every single minute." It was a moment of clarity for me.  I really am able to live here and be happy with and for my family (most of the time) because of Him.  His gospel, His priesthood, that I have used for a blessing or two since I've been here.  His atonement and the realization that He's been alone in a strange place too. It was good to have fifteen minutes of reflection in the middle of a busy day.

I should stop here, because really, that's why we have Easter, and this is turning into a novel.   Just as we were getting in the car we were invited to Easter dinner with some ward members (an answered prayer to the morning's ruined potatoes? I think so).  The boys hurried and found their Easter baskets and barely looked through them, then we all hurried into the car again for the drive to dinner.

 It was wonderful.  Lot's of people and kids and ham and potatoes and noise.  Everything we were missing.   Of course I forgot the camera so no pics, but we have good memories.  (I also realized while writing this that I have no pictures of us in our Easter digs.  We'll just have a do-over next Sunday when Dean's with us and snap a picture then.)

Dying eggs on Easter Eve
When we got home Ben said, "Wow, I thought I got a lot more in my basket than this?"  I peeked around the corner and saw egg halves and tinfoil scattered around the room.  While we were gone Bailey the Beagle had also found Ben's basket...Now we will be the experts on what an entire solid Dove chocolate bunny will do to the inner workings of a Beagle.

Target dollar bin tops that turned into favorite toys in an instant.

Ben whispers to me, "Mom, I saw you buy my Lego bunny when we were in Birmingham."
Oops, cat's, or should I say bunny's, out of the bag.

I set out to make another bluebird, but only had gray yarn so I made a rabbit instead. A rabbit that turns into an egg? yup, and guess what? They all want one.  It is THE hit.  It warms my heart.

I'll leave you with Ben's very own Easter joke.
 "Why did the chicken kill her eggs on Easter? Because she wanted them to DYE.  Haha, get it Mom? dye, like die, but dye?  I am so funny, huh?"

Happy Easter from Alabama!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Tisket a Tasket, Two New Easter Baskets...

Two Easters ago I pulled out the Easter tote and realized that the only Easter basket we had for Ben was a very red Elmo head with rabbit ears.  Nothing against Elmo, but red fur and an orange nose don't exactly scream "heirloom" and that's kind of what I realized I wanted.  My mom still pulls out her dad's Easter basket every year, a lovely, sturdy dark brown basket that I used to covet when I was young because it's rather large.  My mom also made each of us our own baskets and I remember being attached to mine. 

I was enrolling Ben in a nature camp at Ogden's Nature Center and I saw their display of African Bogola baskets, hand woven with leather handles.  A smallish green one caught my eye and I picked it up to replace the outgrown Elmo.  Fast forward two years and I found myself needing two more.  I visited the Nature Center once more only to learn that they no longer carried the small baskets.  They tried to sell me the large "Market Basket" style saying that's what everyone wants, until I told them what I used the small ones for. The clerk was so excited about the idea she called her boss to see if they would be getting any small ones in soon and told her what I was using them for. (If they have a new Spring display next year marketing the small ones as Easter Baskets just know you heard it here first...)

Anyway, one Google search and credit card entry later I had purchased two new Bolga baskets to join us in our egg hunting. Baskets of Africa had just what I needed plus free shipping in the US and cheaper than the first one I bought.  The kids are already attached.  Alan wanted to sleep with his the first night after they came.  It makes my heart happy to see their bright colors and beautiful craftsmanship.   

Three beautiful baskets, I know they won't be going in the Easter tote after they've done their egg duty.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Proof.   Proof that he has friends, that they missed him while he was gone for a week and they all wanted to be his partner for the relay.  Years from now when he accuses us of ruining his life when he was 7 and a half, at least I will have this photo to prove there were friends, and smiles.

I'm joining Mamabyrd in her weekly impressions post.  Feel free to join us and leave your own either here or there.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Field Day

 Highlands had their annual field day today.  They hold it in April instead of the last week of school, like we did in Utah, because of the May heat (something I am not looking forward to.)  Apparently it was hot last year and the year before, but this year it seems we brought some chilly weather back from our visit out west.  The adults were all freezing but the kids had their jackets on the ground for the entire day.

Alan in the tag relay...

Let me set this one up for you...It's a pizza box relay.  The first runner starts with one box and each person adds their box to the next runner's pile.  Alan was #6 and after losing one box right off the bat and another one by the cone, my sensitive boy completely unravelled...

It was so sad and yet sooooo funny.  I was trying not to let him see me laugh while I comforted him.

His "birthday cake" flavored snow cone.

The fire dept. came with their arson dog.  Alan thinks we should get a dog that "does what they tell it to do" just like this one he saw today.

I don't know what their fascination is in picking each other up, but they all do it.  I have about 20 photos with his whole class trying to do it.  Ben told me "it's a second grade thing, you wouldn't get it." Apparently not.

Waiting for the tug-o-war...

Guess what this hot little mess spent the entire day doing?

Ben running the number ball relay.  They had 30 numbered balls in a bucket and the kids had to run and find their number and bring them back in order.

Luke, the friend...

LaKeith, the nemisis (Ben prays every day to "help LaKeith not be a bully and keep him away from me")

potato sack races

"keep pulling"

Sweet victory...

I was working the snack booth during the kindergarten races which is why there are more photos of Ben.  It really was a whole day outside running around.  They were exhausted, and happy.  Field day in Alabama was a total success.